We have a bunch of terrific volunteers at the Damien Center. Some work with P.A.W.S. (our sister organization that helps out members with their pets,) some just help out with whatever needs to be done a particular day. And then there’s Rice Krispy Paul. Paul volunteers in the kitchen on Tuesday nights—serving up dinner, cleaning up the place and—most important to me—makes Rice Krispy Treats for dessert. But not just any Rice Krispy Treats. Flavored Rice Kripsy Treats. A different flavor every Tuesday, in fact. My first Tuesday night I didn’t know what to expect. I saw Paul coming down the stairs from the attic, which serves as our pantry. Sure enough, in his arms were a couple boxes of Rice Krispies, bags of marshmallows and a bunch of other… stuff.
But the groceries in his arms were not the first thing I noticed; Paul’s mighty good lookin’. He seems to be very fit and his (usually just a little too short) trousers fit nice and snug on his, well, where one would expect trousers to fit. It’s his sideburns that really get me going, though. They’re rather wide and lengthy and crisply squared. But they’re trimmed really close. It gives off this sense of being a little wild but still being in control. Am I reading too much into Paul’s facial hair? Maybe. But I think I’m right.
That first night, after dinner was finished, this tray of crimson Rice Krispy Treats appeared on the serving counter. Hmmm… Rice Kripsy Treats have been a particular favorite of mine ever since I was a kid. Gram Judson’s were the best; she made hers with Fluff rather than melt the marshmallows herself. Something about that made them extra-special. But I’m a purist: I like my Rice Kripsy Treats plain and unadulterated. Rice Krispies/marshmallows... full stop. So seeing a bright red batch come out of the kitchen left me a little wary.
I pried one loose from the pack and bit into it. Oh, my God! Cinnamon Rice Kripsy Treats! They were so good! The following week a tray full of deep blue Treats showed up. Blueberry? Roquefort? Cabbage? Well, it turns out Paul doesn’t concern himself with matching the color to the flavor. These blue squares were lemon. And they were amazing. I simply could. not. stop. eating them. Tonight, being Tuesday, was yet another variation on the theme: Mounds Rice Krispy Treats. That’s right: chocolate chips and coconut. Yum!
But last week, at my own suggestion, were the bestest Rice Krispy Treats I ever done e’t. I’ve always been a huge fan of a confection that—up until fairly recently—was only available in specialty shops as an English import. I speak of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, a spherical treat that, when tapped firmly on a hard surface, miraculously breaks into segments, just like an orange. The individual segments even have “pulp” imprinted on their sides. The chocolate is, indeed, infused with orange oil and is just the best candy ever.
Rice Krispy Paul made them at my request and, their green (?!) color aside, were spectacular. I don’t know what turned me on more; the chocolate-orange Rice Krispy Treats or Paul’s sideburns.
On an unrelated note, before he went back into the kitchen Paul gestured to a notice with a peace sign posted on the bulletin board behind the front desk and told me that that symbol is actually a composite of the semaphore signals for “N” and “D” nested within a circle and stands for “Nuclear Disarmament.” In England, anyway. The rest of the world treats it as a broader symbol for peace.
Oh, Paul. Sigh…